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How to Date During the Pandemic and Giving Yourself Some Space for Grace

Andrea is a dating consultant with specialties in Western astrology, Myers Briggs, and has a knack for reading people and couples.

Two people with masks and a milkshake.

Two people with masks and a milkshake.

Shift in Dating Practices during the Pandemic

As a dating consultant and advice junkie, I must admit the pandemic has made for widespread shifts in the way people date -- and romantic relationships as a whole. I can see the shift in my online viewership. People haven’t been looking for dating info like they have in the past. I’m also left wondering what will happen when the pandemic ends, when the majority of people have had the coronavirus vaccine. I wonder if things will go back to a previous normal or if we'll enter a new normal.

I'm certain the pandemic has changed people's priorities. I think when masks come off, when people can gather in larger groups again, and when the hospital system isn't overwhelmed we'll come back with a whole new perspective. We've been in the cocoon for several months now. We were once caterpillars. I assume this pandemic is a type of metamorphosis for humans. There is great potential for change ahead of us.

I imagine when the pandemic ends there will be a huge boom in the dating market. People who have played it smart will have worked hard on themselves this year, if it was possible. And there are plenty of reasons why people couldn't use this time to build themselves. People have left jobs left and right -- some because they were forced out others because they didn't like how toxic their employers became under the hanging sword that is COVID-19.

Also, people have lost those close to them, so there is a pretty fierce amount of grief all throughout the world. We’re also playing some strange song and dance with the economy acting as though it’s in okay shape because of what numbers Wall Street shares. But any idiot knows this isn't a great time to be a worker, especially in the United States. Jobs have been cut, employers are obsessed with hard numbers, people are struggling to juggle all their demands.

These are really strange times. The pandemic has definitely put a spin on my life. I’m not living in the same place I was at the beginning of 2020.

Use This Time to Heal and Gain Perspective

So what can I say of the dating world? I am a big believer that in any year you need to focus on yourself before you date someone. You need to get to as healthy of a version of yourself as possible so you attract a person really worthwhile in your life.

I hope this year has given people a chance to really look at themselves in the mirror and confront some of the things holding them back. It’s a good year to go through things and throw out old stuff -- both in the closet and your digital footprint.

  • Delete old messages from exes that are really just ghosts to you now. Get rid of items that connect back to your exes.
  • Cut old ties. Cut off toxic attachments.
  • Gain back your soul pieces and be strong.
  • Stop treating yourself in a casual way and take your life more seriously.
  • Win back your life. You're not guaranteed tomorrow so treat your time like it matters.
  • Raise your expectations. Give yourself more space to love yourself. Grace gives space.
  • No longer waste time on social media and dating profiles. Put that energy somewhere else that can build YOU -- pick up a new language, write up a storm, dance when no one is looking, start up a new business.
  • Soak up what it means to be in a healthy relationship and make it a goal to attract someone who is worthy of your time. It's better to be single and hang out with friends than date someone who isn't worth your time.
  • Stop making impulsive decisions. Don't panic and narrow your perspective. Be patient and don't just date any ole person. Think more about what works for you.
  • Give yourself space to have vision and intuition. We make bad romantic decisions when our intuition is clogged.

I hope we become more aware of what is important, and we can set aside the things that are more frivolous. The pandemic is awful and there is no sugar coating that.

Single without a Place to Mingle

For those of you fighting against this year and you are single I say to you: don’t give up on yourself. Keep running the good fight. If you can manage your stress and lower the baseline of it — awesome! You're already ahead of the game right there because for most people this is one of the most stressful years of their lives. A few months down the line things are going to be different, but for now we have to deal with the present. You can't get to the finish line or on the other side of the finish line until you've run the race. The race may stink and you may hate it but you have to come to a place of acceptance. You've got to accept your present reality so you can make the most of your future.

Focus on a Healthy Version of Yourself

I encourage those who are single to pick back up your hobbies. Find what gives you passion. Play the piano again, write to your heart’s content, learn a new instrument, learn how to code, pick up an accounting book. Find your heart in this crazy time. The best way to dating is to find your own heart. When we are more certain about our heart then it’s easier to find a good match for it.

My advice to those dating now is to be safe. There are a lot of jerks and scammers out there that would love to catfish you and get some of your money. You should take things slow. Online dating has always been a crapshoot — lucky people find the results they want on it. If you are one of those lucky people, pat yourself on the back because for many Tinder only goes so far and doesn’t help them land a relationship that goes as serious as they want.

It’s okay to do digital hang outs, it’s okay to write letters back and forth, and it’s okay to meet in person if you feel comfortable. What’s challenging is usually a first date following a virtual hangout is at a coffee shop or somewhere safe and public. It’s hard to have those public moments when we’re in a pandemic. It’s hard to grow and foster a relationship in this time. But never sacrifice your safety for convenience. You should still have first dates in person in a public space.

But what you probably really need isn’t love and good feelings in 2020. It’s support. Again, people are losing jobs and people are losing their parents. This year is a disaster for many and has set many behind in their lives, especially their romantic lives.

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Be Supportive, Not Alluring

I think for many what they need now is different than what they needed in 2019. What we need now is to be good to each other, honor the random connections that may come into our lives, and emotionally support those who come into our social sphere. I encourage anyone who has started talking to someone to be mature, be reasonable. Understand that these are unstable times and anything can happen. You may need to talk to someone during these months and really walk with each to the finish line.

Your maturity in dating is what will guide you and help you find a long term relationship. This hub is more about finding long term serious connections than short term casual ones.

A man and woman taking a picture while wearing masks.

A man and woman taking a picture while wearing masks.

Manners that Matter during the Pandemic

People are lonely. We're not meant to live in bubbles. The human brain craves connection. Our species is a social one. Studies show that people that stay connected with others live longer. This year has a taken a pretty big punch to people's social lives. Even for introverts some of the quarantines, lockdowns, and long isolation spells can get a little depressing. You need to understand your loneliness and you also need to evaluate what social connections bring you down and focus on those people less.

You can use this time to confront yourself, get to really know yourself as a person, and find some peace and quiet. We fill up our lives with too much clutter. We should evaluate that and make things a little more simple. Recycle and donate what you don't need.

People do need more complicated social lives than they’re living in the pandemic, but maybe they don’t need as complicated of social lives as they used to have. Dating during a pandemic is less about the physical and way more about the emotional and spiritual. This is a good time for long distance relationships, not flashy dates and extravagance.

Date with Class

If you want to ace dating during this time, you may need to shift your priorities. Think more about emotional support. Here are some of my best tips:

  • Be genuine. People don’t need hacks right now. No one wants to be with a player -- at least not for long. People don’t have time for nonsense. Learn to be authentic and mature. Drop the antics.
  • Be honest with people. Don’t just ghost someone unless that person on the other side is making you feel threatened and uncomfortable. Be honest with people because ghosting them now can really hurt. We don't get as many opportunities to be with others so ghosting can really stand out.
  • Really listen. Seriously. Go above and beyond. Take notes of what they’re saying. Be organized with the other person.
  • Ask questions, put the other person at ease, and be flexible.
  • Smile. Nod. Be reassuring. Give back energy.
  • It’s okay to just be friends. It’s okay to fall somewhere between friends and more than that.
  • Cut out the clutter in your life. Cut out the addictions. Think about the things that really don’t build you as a person, the things you do unnecessarily. Those things are really just scapegoats of your loneliness. Get rid of your demons. Come out of the pandemic with less baggage than you had going into it. (I know I'm repetitive on this, but I really want it to stick for you. I want to give you a healthy push in the right direction.)
  • Respect Zoom time meetups. Be punctual. Be honest. And give people a little room to be awkward. Technology isn’t perfect nor are people.
  • Don’t be surprised if you meet in person and then don’t feel the same way about them. Sometimes when someone is directly in front of us it can give us a whole new sense of feelings. Those feelings could amplify or die on arrival.
  • Chill out. Stop thinking about timelines and deadlines for relationships. You're not behind on schedule for marriage. You're exactly where you need to be. You have the power to give yourself momentum.
  • Don't be overly candid and strict about what you want. Respect the other person and their time. Be kind to one another. Commit to kindness.
  • On the other hand, you don't need to keep up manners and stay kind to someone who is being a jerk or rude to you. Drop the jerks cold.
  • Look for a genuine connection not something that you have to force.
  • If someone tells you they're not interested, tell them thank you. Don't try to beg for their attention or for another chance. Manners do matter. Always be working to improve your charisma.
  • Date and meet up with people who have similar interests and common ground. You'll align better with someone who has similar political views, similar religious views, hobbies, and the like.
  • Know your intellectual strengths. Someone with a Master's is going to have a heck of a hard time with someone who didn't graduate high school.
  • Stick to common sense. Don't neglect your common sense because your ego gets too big.
  • Be careful and keep your personal info sacred. Don't share something online that could damage you if it went viral.
Two people wearing similar clothes outside. They have on masks.

Two people wearing similar clothes outside. They have on masks.

Stay Sharp, Stay Safe

Embrace Closure

The pandemic can help you find some closure on your past. Maybe you need to forgive someone. Forgiveness is hard. But what’s great about forgiveness is it gives you permission to stop holding the other person responsible for your pain. When you do that you’re clearing the attachment you have with them. Forgiveness releases them from you and gives back to yourself. Don’t expect them to ever come to you with an appropriate apology. Forgiveness is about letting go of that expectation.

This year is strange, and it’s hard on people. The way you view yourself, the clutter you can remove, the forgiveness you can add, and the sincerity you can find will help you to get through it all. You’ll feel better about this year if you give up some of the weight. Relinquish some of the baggage so it can make your journey easier.

Making Your Zoom Calls Normal

Now for the juicy stuff. What the heck do you do if you land a Zoom date?

For those of you who would like some Zoom or video chat dating tips here you go:

  • Treat it like you would a job interview. You should still wear something nice, look clean, look like you care. Be presentable. And don’t do ANYTHING weird or unusual. Stick to conversation. Be cool, calm, and collected. Be charming and appear approachable.
  • Yes, you should do video and not just audio. It's also weird if someone is only talking to a picture. This is a date not an excuse for you to hide your weight or the fact that you haven't showered in two weeks.
  • Be prepared for your call to mess up. You will likely have a lag time, some freeze ups, and any number of odd issues. You may have to restart the call.
  • Be punctual. Don’t try coming into the call 15 minutes late. Share email addresses or some other form of communication so you can reach out and say you’re trying to login or sign in or whatever but it’s taking a moment. It's a good idea to chat in email or other messages first to get an idea of what you want out of the chat.
  • Try to find a quiet place to do the call and away from distractions.
  • If it’s a first date, try not to have other people in the call.
  • Take the call somewhere in your house that’s not invasive. Don’t take it in your bedroom or on a bed. Try a bookshelf, at the kitchen table. Not the bathroom. The room you pick is an extension of who you are, so be careful.
  • Be cool. Don’t go on and on about the awkwardness. Don’t go on about how you look. Think before you speak. Don’t be repetitive. People can understand a little bit of nervousness, but if you seem way too uncomfortable than they're going to find it unattractive.
  • Greet the person with a nice hello, how are you. End it with a proper goodbye. Be clear.
  • If you ever feel you are in a call that isn't quite right, inappropriate, or not right for your age you can hang up. And if it was really bad -- report it.
  • Schedule the call at a good, reasonable time. Don't pack it into a busy day.
  • It's better to do video chats before dates in person right now so you can better decide if it's worth it to add this person into your social sphere during the pandemic. If this becomes someone important in your life, it will add more risk to you getting COVID, so you need to know if the two of you have the same core opinions about the pandemic.
  • Have a cup of water ready during the chat.
  • Use the bathroom before you chat.
  • Plan your outfit the day before the video date / chat.
  • You can just talk to each other because you like to talk to each other and not make it so serious.
  • If you know this isn't someone you would like to converse with in the future pretty quick, then don't keep the conversation going for too long. You need some excuses planned if you need to jet: have a timer on your phone or have someone text you so you can take care of some emergency like a flat tire, a dog that got out of its yard, your elderly relative can't find their medication, etc. Yes, you may have to create a fake situation to escape but this is a normal, safe, and smart way to date.
  • Hopefully, you have a way of screening this person before a video chat so you don't have to figure out a way to quickly end a call.

Other Ways to Date and Get to Know Someone during an Isolating Time

  1. Write to get it right. This is a time for those who can write emails, text messages, and even letters. Leave the poetry out unless you're a pro.
  2. If you write letters keep them brief. No more than 2 pages. Beyond that is kind of overwhelming.
  3. Send cards in the mail. Especially ones with animals or interests that are related to your person.
  4. Send gifts in the mail. Etsy is your friend.
  5. It's time to get used to hearing your talking voice. Try sending recorded videos and audio. Get used to sending creative and engaging messages. It's all about the signals you put into this.
  6. Try playing games online together. If you both have a Switch, there are lots of games you could play together.
  7. Try watching a movie together but in separate locations. Netflix may still have a feature for this.
  8. Take an online class together that fits your interests -- like one of those Master Classes.
  9. Dance. Send back and forth dance videos throughout the day.
  10. Try to write a song and play it for them. Don't make it too sappy or like a serenade. Make it cool.
  11. Treat it like a long distance relationship.
  12. You need humor in a healthy relationship. Despite the barriers, if you don't feel that positive energy, then don't keep trying to find it. It should be natural.
  13. When you meet, try going to places with plenty of space. Go somewhere outside, go for a walk, go to a park.
  14. Order take out food. Skip going to restaurants. Now is all about picnics.
  15. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Be up front if you have had any exposure to the virus.
  16. Don't go on dates if you feel sick. Reschedule.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Andrea Lawrence

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